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Title The Influence of Anti-Black Affect in Standard Racial Resentment
Post date 02/02/2015
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale

"A long-standing and widely used paradigm for studying racial attitudes in the United States is that of “symbolic racism”, with the related concepts of “modern racism” or “racial resentment” (Kinder and Sears 1981). This represents a type of racial attitudes, usually an attitude held by white Americans toward Black Americans, that is “symbolic” in nature, meaning that it is socialized early in life and is consistent, stable, and dominates other attitudes. This attitude is usually believed to have two components: a commitment to the traditional American work ethic and anti-Black affect. Modern Racism is argued to have replaced older types of racism, often called “old-fashioned racism”, directed towards Blacks. While old-fashioned racism expressed anti-black affect through support for stereotypes about biological inferiority, Modern Racism expresses anti-Black affect through a belief that Blacks violate norms of hard work.

Modern Racism is often measured through a set of 4 to 8 standard questions. The most common version comes from Henry and Sears (2000):

1. It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if blacks would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites.
<1> Strongly agree
<2> Somewhat agree
<3> Somewhat disagree
<4> Strongly disagree

2. Irish, Italian, Jewish and many other minorities overcame prejudice and worked their way up. Blacks should do the same.
<1> Strongly agree
<2> Somewhat agree
<3> Somewhat disagree
<4> Strongly disagree

3. Some say that black leaders have been trying to push too fast. Others feel that they haven’t pushed fast enough. What do you think?
<1> Trying to push very much too fast
<2> Going too slowly
<3> Moving at about the right speed

4. How much of the racial tension that exists in the United States today do you think blacks are responsible for creating?
<1> All of it
<2> Most
<3> Some
<4> Not much at all

5. How much discrimination against blacks do you feel there is in the United States today, limiting their chances to get ahead?
<1> A lot
<2> Some
<3> Just a little
<4> None at all

6. Generations of slavery and discrimination have created conditions that make it difficult for blacks to work their way out of the lower class.
<1> Strongly agree
<2> Somewhat agree
<3> Somewhat disagree
<4> Strongly disagree

7. Over the past few years, blacks have gotten less than they deserve.
<1> Strongly agree
<2> Somewhat agree
<3> Somewhat disagree
<4> Strongly disagree

8. Over the past few years, blacks have gotten more economically than they deserve.
<1> Strongly agree
<2> Somewhat agree
<3> Somewhat disagree
<4> Strongly disagree

The answers are usually scaled into a single question to measure underlying “racial resentment”.

Modern Racism scales have been criticized for conflating “racism” with “principled conservatism” (Sniderman and Tetlock 1986) because conservatism could include the belief that individuals are responsible for their own position in life and that government should not intervene to remedy inequality between groups.

I propose to test whether the attitudes underlying Modern Racism are rooted in anti-black affect by testing whether respondents will agree with the standard racial resentment statements when the statements are made about groups other than Blacks. I will do this by testing a subset of the questions (the four used by Tesler and Sears (2010)) and substituting other groups, in the place of “Blacks” into the same questions. These groups are whites, “other Americans”, Hispanics, and a series of obscure nationality groups from various parts of the world, such as Nepalese. So, for example, a question could read: “It’s really a matter of some people not trying hard enough; if Nepalese would only try harder they could be just as well off as whites “

If responses to these questions really do represent principled conservatism, and not anti-Black affect, then respondents should be equally likely to agree, regardless of which group is asked about. However, if subjects are equally likely to agree regardless of the group, there are two other possible reasons for this agreement that should also be explored. One reason is a proclivity for “Just World Belief” (Lerner 1980), which is the need to believe that the world is fundamentally just and that people get what they deserve. Another reason could be “ethnocentrism” (Kinder and Kam 2009), which would say that white respondents should have a general tendency to attribute negative stereotypes to any outgroup. I have weak priors about these three reasons that resentment could be the same across groups, so I will test all three."

C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

"I will call responses to the standard racial resentment questions “anti-Black resentment” and the responses to questions with other groups “non-standard resentment”.

H1: Respondents will be equally likely to respond affirmatively to the anti-Black and non-standard resentment questions.

Hpc: This tendency should be especially pronounced, i.e., the difference in anti-Black Resentment and non-Standard resentment should be smallest, among ideological conservatives and the tendency to express resentment towards any group should also be correlated with conservatism.

Hjw: This tendency should be especially pronounced, i.e., the difference in anti-Black Resentment and non-Standard resentment should be smallest among subjects with high just-world belief and the tendency to express resentment towards any group should also be correlated with just world belief.

Hec: This tendency should be especially pronounced, i.e., the difference in anti-Black Resentment and non-Standard resentment should be smallest among subjects with high ethnocentrism and the tendency to express resentment towards any group should also be correlated with ethnocentrism."

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

"Subjects will be recruited using Amazon Mechanical Turk, Harvard DLABSS, and TESS (pending acceptance). Subjects will not be pre-screened, but analysis will be limited to white respondents in the United States. They will be asked the standard symbolic racism questions and questions using a non-standard group. The ordering of whether they see the standard or non-standard questions will be randomized. This will allow for both a between subjects and a within subjects tests. Responses to the standard symbolic racism questions will be scaled into a single score, which I will call “anti-Black resentment”. Response to questions using other groups besides Blacks will be scaled into a single score called “non-Standard resentment”. Questions about slavery do not make sense for the other groups, so subjects will only be asked the questions not pertaining to slavery when asked the non-standard questions. When exposed to the standard questions, subjects will be randomly assigned to be asked all four questions or just the three non-slavery questions. The non-standard group will be randomly assigned.

After answering the symbolic racism questions, subjects will also be administered the Just World Belief Scale, an ethnocentrism scale (Kinder and Kam 2009), questions about policy choices, and questions about the locations of certain countries on the globe.

The following tests will be performed using a T-test for a difference of means (where appropriate).

1. Difference between average anti-Black resentment using three questions and four question standard symbolic racism questions. This will be between subjects because each subject will only see one version. The difference is expected to not be distinguishable from zero and this is necessary to provide legitimacy for the subsequent tests, which all involve tests comparing scales with only three questions. If the difference is zero, all subsequent tests will pool the three and four question versions of the standard symbolic racism questions.

2. Difference between average anti-Black resentment and each non-Standard resentment. This will be tested between subject and within subject. For the between subject test, subjects will be treated as being assigned to whichever condition they were exposed to first. The within subjects difference should be smaller than the between subjects difference, however the within subjects difference may suffer from anchoring or social desirability effects, so the between subjects test should be treated as a more robust test. Average anti-Black resentment will be compared to non-Standard resentment for each group separately (e.g., anti-Black resentment versus anti-Hispanic resentment, anti-Black resentment versus anti-Nepalese resentment, etc.). Because each subject will only see one of many possible non-standard groups, the N for any particular group will be small. I expect there to be no statistically significant difference between these responses.

3. Difference between average response using Black questions and questions about all groups combined. This will be tested between subject and within subject. For the between subject test, subjects will be treated as being assigned to whichever condition they were exposed to first. Resentment across all non-standard groups will be combined and tested against resentment for Blacks. I expect there to be no statistically significant difference between anti-Black resentment and non-standard resentment.

4. I will subset the respondents into self-reported liberals and conservatives and perform the same T-tests just described. Because liberals may have greater social-desirability bias or a belief in social justice that is particularly attuned to the plight of Blacks, I believe they may have lower resentment towards Blacks than non-standard groups. This will mean that the difference between anti-Black resentment and non-standard resentment will be greater for liberals than conservatives, with anti-Black resentment being lower than non-standard resentment for liberals. I will repeat this test using non-self reports of ideology and instead using policy positions that do not include racialized policies. I expect these to follow the same pattern as with self-described ideology.

5. Resentment and “just world belief”. The difference between Black resentment and non-standard resentment will be negatively correlated with “Just World Belief”. Within subjects, the difference between Black resentment non-standard resentment will be examined for an association with just world belief using a Pearson’s correlation coefficient. This correlation should be negative. Between subjects, this difference cannot be obtained, so responses to each type of question will be tested separately: higher anti-Black resentment will be correlated with just world belief and higher non-standard resentment will also be correlated with just world belief.

6. Resentment and ethnocentrism. The difference between Black resentment and non-standard resentment will be negatively correlated with ethnocentrism. Within subjects, the difference between Black resentment non-standard resentment will be examined for an association with ethnocentrism using a Pearson’s correlation coefficient. This correlation should be negative. Between subjects, this difference cannot be obtained, so responses to each type of question will be tested separately: higher anti-Black resentment will be correlated with ethnocentrism and higher non-standard resentment will also be correlated with ethnocentrism.

7. Knowledge and resentment. I will also ask questions along with the non-Standard resentment questions about on which continent the group in question is found, e.g., if they are asked about “Nepalese”, they will be asked a multiple-choice question about on which continent Nepal is located. I will subset respondents into right and wrong answers on these questions. I expect that those who got the question wrong will have higher resentment scores because they will not have pre-existing attitudes on which to draw, but rather will just have to draw on their underlying belief system."

C4 Country
C5 Scale (# of Units) not provided by authors
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? No
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number not provided by authors
C9 Date of IRB Approval not provided by authors
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Researchers
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? No
C13 JEL Classification(s) not provided by authors